The highlight of the last decade in American politics has been foreign policy, with new undeclared occupations and drone strikes galore. Troop numbers deployed overseas have been great, with soldiers from Maine and the remaining forty-nine joining them. Both parties have been guilty in creating new ways to expand our imperial trends and further deepening how we do it. This has been a fortunate move for government for multiple reasons. Our foreign policy has helped create deeper discontent abroad in the post-9/11 world, than ever before. Because of the stronger opposition globally, it has led to a more intrusive federal government with Congress passing more Orwellian legislation every year.
Warnings came from United States Marine Corps. Major General Smedley Butler and Army General Dwight D. Eisenhower, both honorable members of the military, regarding what an ambitious foreign policy would do to our country. Founding fathers such as Benjamin Franklin and U.S. Constitution principle author James Madison had warnings of their own, as well.
Beyond the police state, the rising debt, and the wear upon our volunteer military force, there is another effect that has largely gone unnoticed: the self-silencing of the American population. The intelligence community has a term for unintended consequences of actions, called “blowback.” Blowback is an elementary idea in itself, as since the days of our youth, we have been told that actions have consequences. But to observe this when it comes to our foreign policy, is to blame America. The possibility that our foreign policy may be flawed and is resulting in unintended consequences, is blaming America.
While intellectually dishonest of a rebuttal, it is also inherently prohibitive of critical thought towards government, period. Criticizing government policy is blaming America? When people criticize the Obama Administration for Operation Fast and Furious, which saw the arming of drug cartels, and observe the blowback of civilian and border agent deaths, they’re blaming America. When people criticize multiple administrations for excessive spending and reckless use of taxpayer money, which results in extreme poverty and economic hardship, they’re blaming America.
There is a trend here.
At the rate America is going, government censorship will not be required, no matter how much some people believe it is coming and at whatever rate. Government, although it has always wished to have that sort of control since the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, now has the people to censor themselves in modern America.
The intellectual degeneration of political discourse in reaction to intellectual dishonesty of people within it, is perhaps one of the worst things to happen to America. Government policy is easy to point at, easier to complain about, and thus easier to respond to. But when society censors itself? It becomes a danger to the freedom of speech and is a threat worse than anything government could ever provide, because the First Amendment doesn’t protect against citizen ignorance.
This issue is greater than the foreign policy topic from which it originates. We are becoming politically mute as a population, placing certain topics in the shadowy corner and designating them as off-limits. The possibility that our own actions could enable harsh actions indirectly or without that intent is uncomfortable for people to consider. The idea that we should even acknowledge this is difficult to swallow, and confronting the truth is unimaginable. Because of this, we will not discuss the reasons why our foreign policy is a wreck. With time, it will reduce ourselves to refusing to question government policy more and more, increasing this denial beyond just foreign policy. We will silence ourselves until the First Amendment becomes irrelevant, for the mere fact that the truth is supposedly blaming America.